By Martha Silano
but the flags were stiffly blowing, but the grass wasn’t dead.
I couldn’t find inspiration in an ARCO/AM-PM sign, in the cashier’s
sharing she starts work at five am. Listening to Cannon Ball Blues
in Battleground, Washington, trying to imagine three back-to-back
nine-hour shifts in a convenience store off Interstate 5, who and what
walks through those automatic doors, what’s desired, what won’t ever
be fulfilled despite beef jerky and salted peanuts, corn nuts and Fritos.
Inspired, somewhat, by the crows flapping off to their evening roosts,
one with a crooked wing, a black angel tagging along,
which is sometimes who watches over you as you cross
the Columbia River into Oregon, not a gourmet meal
but a mediocre burger at Denny’s, a plate of soggy fries,
not one-hundredth as bright as the sun just now
above a cluster of menacing clouds as we pass
the sign for Hooters. Uninspired amid leafing-out maples,
conifers that might be yellow cedars, though who can tell,
who’s really watching out for any of us, I ask
the ivy hugging the walls, the scotch broom and vetch.
Martha Silano’s most recent collection is Gravity Assist (Saturnalia Books, 2019). Previous collections include Reckless Lovely and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, also from Saturnalia Books. Martha’s poems have recently appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Bennington Review, and Colorado Review, among others. Honors include the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize and The Cincinnati Review’s Robert and Adele Schiff Award. She teaches at Bellevue College, and her website is marthasilano.net.